Story by Staff Reporter.
National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) will this year handover Jerusarema Mbende Dance Festival to Murewa community with National Training and Conference of the Arts in Zimbabwe (NATCAZ) being a key partner in organising the Festival. This year’s edition will be organised by NACZ with NATCAZ to ensure a smooth transition that will ensure continuity of the annual festival and thereafter Murewa community will run the festival. A meeting was held between NACZ with Chief Mangwende to initiate the handover process and the idea was well accepted. This is consistent with NACZ and government’s vision of empowering local communities through arts and culture. This is the latest community empowerment through arts and culture that NACZ has done after handing over other festivals in the past. Some of the handed festivals include, Intwasa KoBulawayo (Bulawayo), Rainbow Arts Festival (Matabeleland South), and Dzimbabwe Arts Festival (Masvingo) among many others.
2016 Jerusarema Mbende Dance Festival will be held on the 28th October and will be organised by NACZ and NATCAZ in conjunction with the Mbende Safeguarding Committee. NACZ takes pride in ensuring that the Murewa and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe communities greatly benefit from the festival as has always been the norm. The handing over of the festival is NACZ’s vision to ensure Murewa community continue to embrace, promote and safeguards Jerusarema Mbende which is a critical Intangible Cultural Heritage element within the Murewa community.
Mbende Jerusarema Dance was proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity with Murewa Culture Centre acting as the reference place for safeguarding purposes. It is performed by the community of Murewa and Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP) in the North Eastern Districts of Zimbabwe. The ancient fertility dance was called dembe or mbende, a Shona word for “mole” which signified fertility and hence the dance became very popular with the locals.
The Festival seeks to provide sustainable foundations for the transmission of skills to the younger generations and to promote awareness of the value of the dance as well as the importance to safeguard the Intangible Cultural Heritage. NATCAZ is a registered Arts Organisation based in Murewa.